|Drache-Königin (edincoat) wrote in makrothumia,|
@ 2009-01-11 02:52:00
|Entry tags:||ff-fandom: without a trace, ff-length: 5 to 10k, ff-rating: frm, ff-type: slash|
wat/ in its own luminescence
Title: in its own luminescence
Author: Kjata (edincoat)
Characters & Pairings: Danny Taylor/martin Fitzgerald
Fandom: Without A Trace
Rating & Warnings: FRAO
Theme & Community:August 28th 08, This conversation never happened & August 29th 08, The aftertaste is gonna break your heart, & August 30th 08, beLIEve, 31_days
Disclaimer: Characters, Setting, and Original Content that this fic is based upon belongs to those who own them - Namely, anyone but me.
Note: Originally posted in three parts-- 1: the ghost of a ghost of a sound, 2: we were human atoms, & 3: rhythmic flashing of fire-flies. Titles from The Metal Monster by Abraham Merritt.
the ghost of a ghost of a sound
As he walks through the shadow of death, prayers a mere whisper on the wind that sooth but do not linger, he thinks and reflects and hums to himself a tune that he heard once a long while ago. Something religious, something that he hasn't thought of for a long while. Something that he pulls out for only special occasions like this.
The melody dips and swerves, a chorus of voices rise and fall in contrast. He hears it louder, prays louder, holds his hands over his ears and screams out the words in a chant that do nothing to save him but keep him secure all the same. He falls to his knees and keens, back and forth and back and forth, and switches from one tongue to the other like different levels of a cliff rising up for his falling body to crash and break into.
So he lays there, mind a million miles away, knowing what is going on in reality is something he doesn't want to deal with. If he stays in the metaphorical land of his mind, where he can act out his problems without damaging his job or his friends or his family, then he will stay there for as long as he can, as often as he can.
And he is escaping more and more these days, with no one to notice his departures and arrivals.
He likes to think that Martin would notice if given the change, but wishful thinking gives beggars no banquets, and he knows perfectly well that he would have to let him in for there to even be a chance of connection between the two of them. He'd have to stop, crawl out of his head from all the meditation of prayer and wasteland of his emotions, and he is in no way prepared to do that.
Yet, ever, to even consider it is a strain on his psyche. He sees the thought in passing, circling over him in the mental desert like a ring of vultures but bright pink and demanding more attention than passing birds of prey. He looks up at it, blinks, the words of monotony halting on his tongue, and then the moment passes. He continues his litany to preserve his sanity, body long forgotten somewhere back in reality and mind active far away with him wandering somewhere in between.
Self-professed gangsters swipe at him and Martin while talking, explaining how they know nothing and have never seen anything and why don't they please leave them alone now? Except it is a lot less polite, a lot more riddled with the current home boy slang that leaves white bread Martin a bit dazed around the edges and Danny more bemused with the world than he was a few minutes ago.
No information to acquire, they turn away to walk down the street for the next stop, the empty flat of the supposed boyfriend who they need to get a forwarding address for, perhaps lie to the super just to acquire. Martin shakes his head to clear the confusion as he walks next to him, shoulders hunched and hands deep in pockets of his drab overcoat.
He wishes he could stop him, push him into an alley or a doorstop or against a damn light pole and thread his fingers through that thick brown hair just to see if that calms the younger man down, but it wouldn't be wise, so he doesn't. Instead he smirks, because that is what Danny Taylor does and since he's Danny Taylor he better keep in character here, and remarks on Martin's discomfort.
"You get all that back there?"
Martin glances over at him, annoyed and petulant like his good old yuppie self, and he tries to remember why he likes this man. Loves him, even. It can't be because he has good humour at any part of the day except those short moments that contain coffee. Or Samantha. He's going to stop thinking about this now.
But Martin looks away, so his thoughts get to be cut off the natural way instead of waging an internal argument while trying to multitask with a sneer, and Special Agent Fitzgerald pretends to ignore him while looking up at storefronts as they pass them.
This won't do, so he teases a little. That's safe, isn't it? Says with his best condescending tone, "Martin, when someone asks you a question, the polite thing to do is answer."
"Since when have you been concerned with politeness?" Martin asks in return, still examining random signs in store windows, not bothering to see the smug grin that would surely infuriate him if he would just turn and look, damnit.
But then he might see it anyway, in the reflection of the glass, so Danny keeps the grin on and decides to pretend he is getting all the attention he could want, and that is why he is making sure to exaggerate his movements. Not because Martin may or may not be watching in a roundabout way, and that sort of makes him think of the man as 'cute', which is sick making all in itself.
"Since now, Fitzie," he answers, because he's polite, and he's going to make a point while smiling gently at old ladies and winking at pretty girls that they pass. "So, you get all that?"
Martin scoffs, ignores him still, and they lapse into silence because he doesn't feel like continuing along this vein.
Besides, it's not like they're friends or anything. If they were, maybe Martin would look at him more.
It is the short time before he disappears into his head, sitting on his sofa and watching a news channel just to see what is said about the case today. They found the guy dead, the man's boyfriend the aggressor in that crime and probably the answer in this certain whodunit, but that isn't their concern now that the case has been handed over to homicide, so all he gets to do is sit and watch and wait to see what he already knows. Gay man found dead by two FBI agents, boyfriend in custody to be questioned by the NYPD and FNI both, Mayor of New York City telling reporters that the crime is deplorable and that the police force will do all in their power to bring justice to the now dead man.
Being politically correct is making his head hurt, but he keeps the television on and relishes the oncoming megrim, because that means he might not be able to escape tonight. Not escaping means maybe being forced into action. Not running off to his happy place--he calls it that mockingly, of course, and he wonders yet again if he is close to a breakthrough on this subject--means that he is closer to calling Martin and confessing all and waiting for a reaction.
But he's chicken-shit, so he'll probably just sit here and rub his forehead and wait for the news to finish the story he's interested in, and then he'll pass out from exhaustion like always.
His cell phone vibrates on the coffee table in front of him, jumps and dances on the glass top to a short long short pattern that is randomly chosen. He reaches down, picks it up, checks the number on the front. Answers, listens to Jack telling him to come to a specific address because a little girl is missing, and he says, "I'm on my way," as if there is any other possible answer to be had.
He isn't in his suit anymore, but he doubts it matters much. Jeans and a worn t-shirt are good enough for late night interviews, it compliments the dark circles around his eyes and he can use the clothing as a punch line or something for a really bad joke in the near future.
Maybe Viviane would laugh if he uses it on her first.
All right, he is far too in tune to Martin's mood if he can tell that the man is getting frustrated when they're at separate ends of the house. The itching feeling between his shoulder blades plus the thought of "oh, Martin's pissed" should not equal some sort of psychic connection where he knows if the object of his obsession alters or shifts at all. Besides, it's kind of sort of creepy, on an entirely unassuming and unintentional voyeuristic level.
But the feeling is there nonetheless, so he excuses himself from Viviane and the bereaved mother and heads towards the playroom where Martin is examining the toys and drawings and videos of the little girl now gone and slowly getting worked up in a tizzy.
Martin is pacing when he reaches him, focused on some pages of construction paper that the girl must have written and drawn on. His brow is furrowed, eyes wide and just a bit wild as they dart across the pages, and his hands are the only not-moving part on him, steadily holding something up so that he can look at it and dissect it and analyze like only a Fitzgerald can.
Danny watches from the doorway for a moment, counts to ten with a breath between each number, and then steps in his partner’s path with hands up and head angled just so.
Special Agent Martin Fitzgerald stops and removes his gaze from the bright purple and pinks of the missing girl's creativity, and looks up at him. His brow smoothes, his eyes go back to their normal state of wary expression. He pulls the construction paper in his hands down a bit, so gathered in one hand at his side but still ready to be looked at in a moment's notice, and he tilts his head up to look at Danny in a considering manner.
"What is it, Danny? A lead?"
He shakes his head no, drops his hands and straightens his head. Says, "You need to calm down, Martin. We'll find her, just give Jack and Samantha a few minutes to collaborate with the local PD."
Martin nods, and gestures at the room as if to say 'look at all of this.' Says instead with a steady voice hinting at something underneath consisting of steel, "Whoever took this girl is a sick bastard."
"We don't know if she was taken, Fitzie," he soothes. "She could have wandered off, you know."
Cold blue eyes look up at him directly, making his breath catch in some perverse reaction and his heart pound just a little faster. Martin stares for a few moments, then shakes his head no.
"She was lifted, Danny. Trust me on this."
He tips his head back, groans as he rubs his eyes with his hands, and enjoys watching the spots in the darkness that come as a direct effect from his action. His headache is still there after five hours from the phone call, one hour from finding the girl held hostage in a dumpster by some wild woman claiming she was cleansing the earth of grey aliens--plus Elvis, of all people--and five minutes after Jack told everyone to finish up, head home.
Martin is still typing away, probably going to finish his report even though he doesn't have to, not until noon when he is supposed to come in tomorrow. It is slightly frustrating for Danny, knowing that his sometimes partner is such a workaholic but he is still somehow fascinated by him. He isn't supposed to like serious people, he tells himself on a regular basis. He's supposed to like fun people. Or at least someone he can relate to in the end.
Hell, he'll take someone he might have a chance with, just to stop this obsession with one Deputy Director of the FBI's son.
The printer starts up, and that means Martin is finished. He stops grinding his eyeballs into his head with calloused fingertips and spins around in his chair, watches the younger man gather up his things to leave and ignore him completely.
Fitzgerald doesn't spare him a glance as he gathers up the report, staples it together, and then gives it to Jack on his way out. In fact, he doesn't look at him once, until he's out of the bullpen and walking down the hallway, and then Danny swears he sees a sideways look through the glass just before he disappears past the blinds that block his line of sight for the rest of the way to the lift.
Damnit, if the guy keeps doing little things like that, he'll never get over him.
That night he dreams about kissing Martin, grabbing fistfuls of Martin's horribly-patterned suit and pulling him close, angling their bodies just so for the best access to tongue and teeth and breath. He wants that connection so desperately in the dream that he keeps pressing until he is almost inside the man's skin, sinking in until they are combined into Martin&Danny instead of two separate entities.
He notices when he wakes up all sticky and gasping for breath that for once he feels happy inside his head, and all because of a dream that has Martin being nice to him and looking at him and even letting him touch him.
He finds this most distressing, and he stumbles to the shower feeling more wretched than ever.
Martin surprises him at thirteen hundred hours by dropping half of a sandwich in front of him wrapped in deli paper while asking, "You don't look so good, Taylor. You feeling okay?"
He's shocked and flabbergasted and all those words to express incredulity, and he almost lets his tongue get away from him and spill all of his secrets, just because Martin asked a generic concerned question. Which is one of those stupid somethings he is often inclined to do around the younger man, and he is immensely relieved that he caught himself in time before he lets a sound escape already formed lips.
The image he is projecting must be really interesting, because Martin is looking at him intently, not missing a movement and probably thinking that he's a little insane around the edges. Or completely insane, and he's just humouring the poor senior agent who is falling apart right in front of him.
"I'm fine," he manages at last, tearing his gaze away to inspect the sandwich. It looks like it's what he normally gets for lunch, and he feels a little suspicion stir because he knows he hasn't told the man next to him how much he likes avocadoes, and there are definitely avocadoes on that sandwich.
"You don't look fine," Martin says, crossing his arms. "And I don't think that was what you were going to say first."
He feels himself start a little at that, and shifts away from his partner before answering. "So now you're the observant one, Martin? The world must be ending."
Martin stares at him openly, then shrugs a little before pushing off from the edge of the desk and standing up straight, looking over at his own desk. "Hey, what are friends for if not to annoy each other?"
And then he looks at him with a mischievous grin, and Danny really shouldn't let his heart flutter like that just because of a smile, damnit. So he swallows and returns a grin of his own, hoping it looks just as smug, instead of nervous.
Says, "What, so we're friends now?"
Martin nods. "Any reason why we wouldn't be?"
He shifts his shoulders upwards, universal gesture saying 'no idea', and he looks back at the sandwich. "Who told you I like avocadoes?"
Special Agent Fitzgerald shrugs, starts walking to his own desk. Says over his shoulder, "No one, I just noticed one day."
That night he dreams of a lot more than a kiss from one Martin Fitzgerald, and when he wakes up in the morning sticky again and suffering from a lack of air in his lungs, he really wishes he was into self harm. Because if bashing his head into the wall in a steady rhythm would work to stop this, he'd seriously consider doing it.
we were human atoms
Martin runs to quiet the murmurs in his head, and in turn, has been running quite a bit as of late.
He manages to go far, too, as far as the other end of the city sometimes, and once he found himself at the freeway entrance that leads to Jersey, so he knows that this has gotten a bit out of hand. He shouldn't be fleeing from his problems like this, cutting out everyone--co-workers and friends included with that family he supposes he calls his own--but it is oh so easy to just lace up his sneakers and pound the pavement into submission.
The unfortunate result is that when he finally stops, the doubts and insecurities and things he would really rather not put energy on become twice as loud, and he then has to deal with all of that coming up to bite him in the ass. It has always been like this, ever since he can remember, and though he suspects that one of the reasons he got addicted to the Percoset in the beginning is because there wasn't anything in his head making him nervous when those little pills passed his lips, he has managed to not fall down the hole to alcoholism or something like it to drown it all out.
He was close to it, once upon a time, but meeting Danny put a stop to that plan.
And when Danny became something he runs from as well, he doesn't know, but now he runs twice as hard to ignore the slightly dazed looks the older man gives him every now and again, saying something he would probably love to hear but just can't accept right now.
Because yes, he notices Danny in the room, in the building, next to him on assignments and trying to lighten the mood by making bad jokes about mythical creatures in apartment buildings. It never fails to charm him senseless, and he has to put extra effort in not smiling like an idiot and stumbling all over the guy, because that would not do. At all. Ever.
Who's he kidding here, besides his running for his life across the city self? The only good thing that comes from this is that he'll never get lost in the city, and that he doesn't have to worry about getting out of shape. The muscles and endurance that comes from being scared of his own shadow will serve him well one day, when a serial killer or a child molester or someone who is trying to escape debtor’s prison who used to run track tries to escape the justice brought by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He's at the edges of the mainland portion of the city, waterfront before him and Manhattan shooting up into the sky like a menacing blight on the horizon. He remembers a book that he read once, where aliens took Manhattan to save a small part of the human race, just to keep it from being destroyed with the rest of the planet when other aliens came to just kill them all dead.
He imagines a bubble forming over the island, and grins to himself.
Another good thing from these runs, at least he gets to amuse himself with some hardcore stupid shit.
Danny has been giving him looks since he thought of him enough to give him half a sandwich with fucking avocadoes on it last week, and he really doesn't see what the big deal is. Yeah, no one told him that it was his favourite, but it isn't like it was a big secret or anything. It would be really difficult to not notice the green (and maybe turning brown on the edges, depending on how long the sandwich sat before consumption) mashed up glop that squirts out with every bite, smearing on Danny Taylor's fingers so that he can dart out a tongue as soon as he swallows the bulk of the initial bite to lick off the..
Not going there. Not. Going. There.
So back on topic, he has no idea why there is such a big deal about a type of food with Danny, and he is probably avoiding him because of that. Not because he doesn't want to be asked the question again, of why he noticed what the man prefers to eat, but because he is slightly freaked out by the odd gazes and considering looks during the day, and sometimes the deer-in-headlights stare that happens when Danny walks into the offices first thing in the morning looking haggard and worn.
He'd like to ask Danny why he hasn't been getting sleep lately, especially since there has been plenty of down time as of late, but that would add to the original creepy parts of their relationship, so he doesn't. Instead he stares back as blankly as possible, doesn't give anything away, and waits until Special Agent Taylor drops his gaze and goes back to work.
Another slow day at the office, with no case load and Danny sneaking looks at the back of his head and the girls playing Gin Rummy at the conference table while giggling in a conspiring way. Jack lurks at the edges, keeping an eye on them and on Sam in particular, and he still doesn't feel anything about it one way or the other. Just leans back in his chair, the solitaire game on the computer having lost its amusement for him, and wonders if he should try juggling pens to pass the time.
The hairs at the back of his neck stand up straight, and he goes "uh oh" in his head before turning to see if what he suspects is true really is. And yes, it is, there is his father walking in the door, heading for relaxed Jack overseeing the gambling pool that is most assuredly going on in a government building.
He hisses out quickly, "Jack, incoming!" and then leans forward to his computer, pretending to find something interesting to focus on. The Database, good, that will work. Look up random criminals to familiarise himself with their work, perfect. He can pretend to be prepared.
He hears Vincent Fitzgerald tell Jack he wants to speak to him, and he tries to not look and see what sort of expression is on his father's face. Fails to resist miserably, casts his eyes about to see, and a lead stone settles in the bottom of his stomach at the intense stare that means business, be it concerning family members or the bureau.
Danny stage whispers over to him, "Martin, why is your dad here?"
He tilts his chair to the side, looks over at his sometimes partner not really caring if he looks like a delinquent schoolboy in class passing notes, and shakes his head in a negative fashion. Says, "No idea."
Danny mirrors his position, and looks at him very seriously. “Is there going to be trouble, you think?”
He grins at him, rolls his head back a little so he’s look at Danny slightly upside down, and shrugs. “If he is, we have shoes as a backup.”
The light that sparks in his sometimes partner’s eyes makes him think a little, and the sudden disappearance of it with a quick turn away makes him think a lot. He says to himself, “Damnit, more to consider,” and turns himself back to his desk.
Says to himself again, “Damnit,” and continues to pretend to investigate criminals.
That day when he gets home, he grabs his falling-to-pieces sneakers, throws on a pair of jeans and a hoodie, and starts to run. He doesn’t think about Danny, or his issues with life in general, or the latest book he read in a fit of boredom. He doesn’t even think about his father, or his quiet insistence that closed the day talking about taking a few days off, and how he is expected to be on a plane at ten tomorrow morning so that he can be there in plenty of time for his mother’s emergency surgery.
Instead he keeps an address in his head, and decides to play a game that he may or may not have played before. If he can find this certain location without looking at a map, without having never been even close to it before in the past, then he has officially run too much in his time of living in this city, and he’ll find a youth centre to volunteer at next month to get a new hobby.
Playing basketball with disenfranchised kids won’t do much for his personal demons, but maybe it will give him some good karma to use in an emergency situation that are certain to pop up in the future.
So he keeps this address in his head--why this one, he doesn’t really ponder on much, but it is something and he’s good with just something--and starts to run from his flat’s building. Runs north, looking at street signs as he passes, trying to find a pattern that might signify when he should turn and examine a neighbourhood more closely.
And he thinks that after three hours of constant jogging, of backing up and retracting steps and something just stopping and looking in some random direction and hoping his internal compass will show him the way, he gets close. Really, he does. He’s in some middle-class Spanish section of town, danceable pop music blaring from speakers situated just inside the various still-open stores that he passes, and there are tamale stands every block and a half. He knows he could probably ask where the street he is looking for is, get an odd look maybe, and then a point in the right direction.
But that will take up too much effort, so when he comes across a public phone, he pulls out his cell and dials speed number one and leans back to wait. Hears it ring twice, and then the line picks up with a rough voice saying “Taylor“ and he has to close his eyes before he can say anything.
“Yeah, Danny? It’s Martin.”
“Hey, Martin. What’s up?”
He notices the confusion on the other line, swallows his pride, and just says it before this aforementioned pride stops him. “I know we’re not really close or anything, man, but can we ignore that for tonight so I can crash on your couch? I’m going insane on my own right now.”
A slight pause, and he feels his throat tighten. If he has to back out of this apologetically, he doesn’t think he’s going to make it. Hears something in the background clatter onto a hard surface, maybe a pen hitting the floor or something, and then Special Agent Taylor begins to speak.
“Yeah, sure, Martin. Everything okay? I can come pick you up if you want.”
“Thanks, man,” he says, trying to not let loose a sigh of relief. He looks around, laughs a little, and peers up at the closest street sign. “And um, yeah, that would be great. I really don’t know where you live from where I am.”
“This running thing is unhealthy, man.”
He knows this, and he says so, and then tells him where he is. The ragged intake of breath makes his eyebrows raise, but if he has to croak out a request for friendship on a night like this then he isn’t going to comment on someone else’s problems getting a proper breath in. Especially if it’s Danny.
He gets an earful anyway, rapid words like “what the hell“ and “it’s close to sunset” and “quick, do you see any teenagers wearing the same colours, like white and purple or green and black?”
There are, in fact, a group of kids hanging out down the street from him, glancing over with curious looks but are otherwise non-threatening, and he decides against telling Danny this. Instead he says, “No, Danny, I’m not about to be caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting,” and smiles a little when the man starts to say in Spanish what he can only assume are curses.
Danny says to him “Stay there,” then the line goes dead, and he wonders if he could get away with sitting on the concrete with his head in his hands; if Danny will notice the little bits of fear and desolation that are sure to be on his face tonight when he finds him.
Just because he’s finally lost in this huge city, you see. Not because he finally managed to ask someone for help.
rhythmic flashing of fire-flies
The call comes during one of his mind trips, stumbling through that desert and wondering if he could brighten up the place a bit with some flowers, maybe a set of exotic-print curtains. He hears the first ring, jerks upwards and out of his safe place, and he has his cell in his hand by the second ring and is answering it before the third.
Martin's voice makes all sorts of things happen to his innards, and the request intensifies them to the degree that when he swings his legs over the edge of the sofa so that he can sit up straight, he knocks over random things on his coffee table. He doesn't notice, though, because Martin Fitzgerald is not too far from his flat and asking for sanctuary and he is completely upset by this.
He probably would be more inclined to be gleeful, delirious with joy even, but this means he has to look and not touch, not lean in and breath the same air because if he does inside his own flat he might be inclined to do something else a little more risky. Like kiss Martin.
Or go down on him.
A dozen scenarios flash through his mind as he curses at his luck and both of their stupidity, and he says in an authoritative tone, "Stay there," before flipping the phone closed and burying his head in his hands for a moment.
And then the need to keen and hide passes, and he runs out of his flat at full speed, gets down the street and down another until he gets to the general area. Swings his head left and right to see if he can see him, muttering nonsense to himself just to calm down as he searches.
He finally sees Martin leaning against a payphone, lobbing his cell phone in one hand while staring down a group of teenagers located down the street a ways. The picture it makes causes laughter to well up his throat, fight valiantly to get out into the atmosphere, and of course he swallows it down. If he starts to laugh now he'll get hysterical, and not the good kind, but the bad kind. The kind where he might just not stop until he gets slapped by a concerned Martin, and he just knows he'd hit him back for it and that wouldn't do for their friendship in the long-run.
Or maybe it would help, because Martin is still leaning there, looking like something out of a fifties street flick, maybe a propaganda film that expands on the horrific consequences of using reefer and wearing leather jackets and getting into fights outside the malt shop.
A film of which always has a staring contest midway through, and as he comes up to Martin, the idiot wearing only a fucking zip-up sweatshirt and no shirt underneath and oh god Danny is going to have a stroke right here and now at the glimpse of skin that the unintentionally hiked-up hem shows off. Pale and there and he knows his step just faltered a bit but Martin isn't looking so hopefully that will go unnoticed.
Finally Special Agent Fitzgerald looks in his direction, and shoves out of his reclining position, raises a hand in greeting and in turn causes the hem of the sweatshirt to go even higher, enough to expose muscled abdomen slashed with scars. He manages to not stare, he’s sure he isn’t staring, especially now that he’s getting close enough to say something, but he must have failed because that grin on Martin’s face is not good for him and his already perilous mental status.
“Yeah,” Martin says, spreading his arms wide as if to show off his sloppiness of outerwear. “Not exactly work uniform is it?”
Danny smiles, feels his lips stretch back tight in the automatic motion that really has no feeling behind it except the physical sensation, and does his best eyebrow quirk. “Yeah, Jack would fire you on the spot if you came in wearing that.”
Now they are both grinning, him freaked out and fidgeting and Martin looking at him with blank eyes and a grin that oddly looks like it is on a skull. He’s never thought about it before--okay, he has, he just hasn’t admitted it until now--but when Martin gets like this he looks rather skeletal standing there, wearing inappropriate clothing for the climate and looking up at Danny like he might almost trust him if he’s given enough reason to.
So he gestures for the younger man to follow him, which he does, and he manages to send a glare over his shoulder at the kids watching. They know him, know he’s an FBI Agent, and he wants to make sure they don’t follow them and make trouble.
Martin falls into step beside him, eyes straight ahead and ignoring his attempts to protect them both, and he feels very confused by everything.
So. He was three blocks away. Close enough for him to make true on his promise, and give up this fleeing from his problems business. He feels slightly saddened by this, because he’s a stickler for zero change in life and here he is having to follow through on a pact made with himself to do exactly what he hates, but he’ll mourn for his running shoes later.
Besides, what is this he is doing right now, if it isn’t one major change the size of a small country? Or a large country, even. A continent. Yeah, that sounds right. A continent. Those are fucking huge.
Danny’s flat is on the third floor, and they crawl up the stairwell at a snails pace with one talking and gesturing and trying to fill in the awkwardness with panicked rambling, and him following one step behind and trying to remember why he is doing this right now right here and with this man.
Oh. Right. Parental issues.
They get inside, and he shivers as the blast of warmth heats through his clothing in no time at all. He had started sweating again during the walk up, and he is now getting that odd chilled feeling that comes from being overheated but not so hot that he would be inclined to seek a cooler climate. He watches Danny dart around the room, picking up things and tidying up and he knows he’s grinning at his sometimes partner but this whole thing is too bizarre, and the need to make the flat acceptable for guests is just the topping on the metaphorical cake.
Danny finishes, throws himself onto the sofa and then pauses, looks up at him and waves his hand. “You can sit if you want, unless you’re one of those people who sleepwalk.”
He walks over, slowly moves downwards into a sitting position on the worn cushions, and feels his muscles jump from the exertion as he relaxes. A sigh of relief is on his lips, but he manages to turn it into a heavy exhalation instead of something that could be misconstrued as something.. else.
Drops his head against the back of the sofa, and says to the ceiling, “What if I am?”
“What if you’re what?” Danny asks, shifting his weight and he can feel the give in the springs. It would be so easy to just go limp completely, maybe roll his entire body in Special Agent Taylor’s direction; and wherever that interesting thought came from, he needs to figure out if he wants more during his time here or not, and he needs to figure it out now.
He tenses, looks over at Danny who is very resolutely not looking at him. No more thoughts like that, then. Says, “A sleepwalker.”
“Oh, then I’d have to take you to the church down the street and dump holy water on you,” Danny replies, still not looking at him, like he’d lose something if he did.
“Holy water,” he says, blinking.
Finally the man looks at him, and amusement is back in full force thank you God. “Yeah. Holy water.”
Martin falls asleep two hours after they get inside, slumped down sideways across the arm of his sofa. Danny still doesn't know why he decided to come over, why he bothered to call and use the friendship card when he could have just as easily called Samantha or Viviane. It sort of bothers him, because this is giving him the perfect opportunity to watch the younger man drop his guard, and he really needs to know why this is happening before he can determine what he should do next.
He watches for a while, counts the seconds between each breath like he did right after that damn Dornvald thing, examines the exposed skin from the partially unzipped hoodie and its infernal shoved up hemline. There is a picture-perfect view of the scar he had his hands on before it became one long line of traumatised tissue through otherwise smooth muscle and flesh, and his hands shake a little before he can stop himself.
He leans close, peers at the relaxed facial features that have Martin looking his actual age instead of some harried elder person trapped in a thirty-something man’s body. When his eyes are closed and mouth slack, the lines disappear and the dark circles lighten, and this is something Danny could get used to, really it is.
That thought causes him to jump a little, jump again straight to his feet, and slowly walk backwards, away from Martin and his skin and his breathing. His back hits the edge of the doorframe to his bedroom, and he slides inside the room and closes the door with a soft click.
Breathes in, breathes out, closes his eyes and shudders, then opens them and looks over at his bed.
He won't be getting any sleep tonight, but he might as well pretend.
The click is what wakes up Martin, so he groans a little and sits up. He hadn’t meant to fall asleep mid-sentence, really he hadn’t. Talking with his sometimes partner was sort of fun in a freaked out, what is this man on because he’s acting like he’s going to jump out of his skin any moment, kind of way. And the odd thing is, no matter how much they smiled at each other, they never managed to smile at the same time.
He looks around for Danny, notices the closed door, and lets his shoulders slump. Rubs the sleep out of his eyes, and scratches at the rough fabric of his hoodie. The crusted salt from his sweat on the fabric irritates his skin, so he looks down at it and tries to do his best glare. Then decides fuck it, and pulls it off over his head.
He throws it in the general direction of the closest corner of the room and the door opens, Danny walking out carrying a blanket who then catches sight of him and stops. He nods, leans back, says, “Hey, how long was I out?”
The older man has no reply, just stands there staring at him, wide eyed and slightly animal-looking. He notices that Danny’s hands are shaking, and realises that maybe he can continue to have those interesting thoughts, because this is certainly a new development, isn’t it? And so he cranes his neck, looks him directly in the eye, and raises his eyebrows.
Danny licks his lips, looks away. Holds out the blanket like its something contaminated, and waits.
I don’t like this, he thinks to himself, and he weighs the options in his mind. Do this, do that, what will get him the desired result, and not cause too much damage to their friendship at the same time? He blinks up at him, holds a hand up, but doesn’t take the blanket from Danny’s hand.
Special Agent Taylor looks confused, but he takes two steps closer and continues to hold it out. Sort of waves it at him as if to say, take it already, I want to leave and I can’t until you take it.
And Martins narrows his eyes at that wave, feels anger spike up his spine. Decides fine, he will take it, and does so. By grabbing Danny’s wrist and pulling him down, though; not that other, less physical, route.
Danny squawks as he goes down, landing awkwardly on top of Martin’s lap and tensing right before they collide. The blanket is dropped on the floor, forgotten as the larger man struggles to get away, and Martin holds on tight in what will probably turn out to be a bruising grip while Danny yells at him.
“Martin, what the hell?” Danny says, wiggling and kicking to try to right himself. Apparently, being sprawled over his partner’s lap isn’t something he is fond of at the moment. “Let go, ah, Martin, damnit!”
He knows that if this backfires he will never be able to speak to Danny again, but he thinks of the plane he is going to be on in the morning and thinks that it would be worth it just to do this. So he keeps his grip solid, shifts a knee up to tilt Danny backwards, and leans over his friend’s face.
Says, “Shut up.”
Danny stills with an expression of wide-eyed bewilderment, and he leans close to kiss him firmly. Just a solid pressing of mouth to mouth, keeping his own eyes open slightly to gauge the reaction.
And he’s glad he decided to do this, because Danny’s eyes slide closed, and the victory theme from one of those old video games he used to play starts to go on loop in his head. He presses closer, harder, and licks inside his friend’s mouth all in the span of three seconds, resisting the urge to hum the tune in the back of his throat. Especially when Danny kisses back, questing tongue and all.
Pulls away, smiles a little at Danny’s dazed expression. Says, “Don’t dump holy water on me.”
His friend’s eyes have a light in them, the same one that he sees occasionally spark and die out in the same expression, but this time it comes in and stays there. And then Danny grins wide, wraps an arm around Martin’s neck, and pulls close for another kiss.
He wakes up first, blinking up at his living room ceiling and wondering why the hell he’s laying spread-eagle and naked on the cold hard wood floor of his flat, but then Martin shifts next to him, and he remembers. All of the bite marks and bruises proceed to make themselves known at that moment, and he winces as he turns to his side to look his sometimes partner and marvel at how well he is sleeping.
The air feels cool on his skin, and he shivers a little as he moves, shoving himself closer to Martin and fully planning to tell the younger man off if he wakes up, asks him what he’s doing. He was completely violated on top of his coffee table not too long ago, and he deserves some body heat, damnit.
But Martin doesn’t wake up, entirely out of it as if he were a log and logs could be perfectly content in sleeping. Danny thinks that maybe Martin ran around a little too much to find his building than he initially admitted a few hours before, and as he presses close and hooks a leg over Martin’s prone form, he feels slightly angry at the entire situation.
Not because they managed to finally do something that he’s wanted to do ever since he found out that Martin had a mouth on him--approximately twenty minutes after he first met him, or so he recalls--but because his sometimes partner really needs to learn how to communicate better.
He presses as close as he can, and lets his head rest on the junction of Martin’s shoulder and neck. Closes his eyes, and feels himself relax. He doesn’t know if this is how they should ultimately wake up together, but he wants to take a chance on this, and so he does.
As he drifts off, he thinks that if this works out the way he hopes it will, he might just have to retire that whole escaping into his mind thing. Because getting jumped by Martin is a lot better, to be perfectly honest.